Disclaimers:  I do not own Gundam Wing or any of its characters.

Notes:  Catherine arrives and takes care of both Quatre and Trowa.



Servitude, Retribution, and Enchantment



Part Thirteen


Catherine was confused, but still she followed the guard that walked ahead of her.  He had come to the circus and had said that
the King had requested her presence.  She didn’t know why a king would want to see her.  And frankly she was worried about
just what this king had in mind for her.  It wasn’t every day that royalty wanted to see her . . . except Meiran that is.

She took in a breath, steeling herself for an uncertain future as the guard stopped outside a door and knocked.  There was
silence for a long few moments before and oddly familiar voice called out from the other side of the door.  “Enter.”  

The guard gripped Catherine’s arm and led her inside.  She looked around, then her eyes settled on a figure moving toward
them.  The guard knelt and bowed down on the floor in front of the approaching young man, and Catherine gasped in shock at
seeing that it was Trowa, blood nearly covering the front of his clothes, staining his throat.

“You may leave us.”  Trowa said.

The guard quickly rose.  “Yes, my lord.”  The man mumbled, backing away and hastily leaving.

As soon as the guard left, Catherine grabbed Trowa’s arm.  “What the hell is going on here, Trowa?”  She demanded, wanting
answers.

“Not here.”  Trowa replied, gently prying her fingers away from his arm.  “Follow me, and I’ll explain.”

Catherine nodded and followed Trowa over to the door he had come through earlier.  “This had better be good!  Since when are
you a king?”

“Since I killed Dekim Barton.  I have his son’s name, so they put me in charge.  Queen Meiran knows the situation.  As to why I
called you . . .”  He opened a door and pointed to a pale youth that lay on a bed.  “You have a patient.”

Catherine rushed over to the youth’s side, noticing the girl that lay beside him, but focusing mainly on the young blonde.  He
was staring at nothing, seemingly unaware of his surroundings as he lay there motionless.  “Oh . . . what HAPPENED?”  She
asked, then clamped her hand over her mouth as she saw the young girl stir in her sleep.  Catherine didn’t want to awaken her.

Trowa sighed, sitting on a corner of the bed.  “His mental state I would guess is shock from seeing the graves of his sisters and
niece.  Physically . . .”  He trailed off and looked away, biting his bottom lip.

Catherine stared at him, wanting to know what had happened.  “Spit it out, Trowa!  I need to know.”  She said, purposely
keeping her voice as low as she could.

Trowa exhaled a shaky breath.  “Dekim was performing some sort of ceremony last night.  I happened to get caught in the
middle of it.  Dekim planned to rape Quatre when the ceremony concluded.”

“But you killed Dekim, right?”  Catherine asked.  “So what’s the problem?”

Trowa let out a small sob, his eyes beginning to glisten with tears that he fought to hold back.  “I took Dekim’s place . . . THAT’
S the problem!”  He turned away, closing his eyes.

“What?!”  Catherine gasped, tugging the blankets away from the blonde’s body.  “Oh, Trowa . . . you DIDN’T!”  She didn’t
want to believe it, but as she examined the young man, she saw clear signs of a sexual encounter.

“I-I was as gentle as I could be in my state of mine.  I tried to stop!  He was more upset about the idea of being my slave when
he woke up this morning.  I don’t WANT him as a slave, though.  I wouldn’t blame you if you decided to hate me.  I’m not
liking myself at the moment.”  Trowa said, rambling as he kept his eyes focused on the floor in front of him

He seemed so ashamed of himself that Catherine couldn’t hate him.  He was a brother to her, if not by blood then by love alone.  
She could never hate him, no matter what he did.  “I don’t hate you, Trowa.  I’m angry with you for doing this . . . but I don’t
hate you.”

She covered the blonde’s body and slid herself closer to Trowa, curling her arms around him.  “I’m sorry, Catherine.  I-I didn’t
know what I was doing.”  He whispered, his body shivering as she embraced him.  “I’m no better than the mercenaries that
wanted to do that with me.”

Catherine felt her own tears escaping, and tightened her hold on Trowa.  “Don’t think such things, Trowa.  You are not like
those monsters.  None of them would feel even a fraction of the guilt that you do over this.  They would enjoy it and laugh
about it the next morning.  But you feel for him, you regret.  You are not like them.”

Trowa nodded against her shoulder, but said nothing.  He only wrapped his own arms about her, seeking solace in her arms as
he shivered.  

After a few moments, Catherine pulled away from him.  “Let’s get him cleaned up.  I noticed that you didn’t clean him since last
night . . . he’s covered in oil and  . . . other fluids.”

“I wanted you to make sure he was well first.  I wasn’t sure what to do.”  He said, his eyes cast downwards.  “I did feed him
some broth.”

Catherine offered the barest hint of a smile, weaving her fingers through Trowa’s hair.  “That’s good.  I doubt Dekim would
have been so considerate.  Now, bring me a basin of water and some cloths, and help me.  I'd suggest you also remove the girl .
. . there’s no need for her to wake up in bed next to a nude man.”

Trowa nodded.  “Yes, of course.”  He stood, then walked around to the other side of the bed.  He gently and slowly swept the
girl into his arms.  She in turn curled closer to his body, groaning although she remained asleep.

“Who is she anyway?”  Catherine asked.

“The new Queen.”  Trowa replied.  “Dekim’s granddaughter, Mariemaia.  She’s under my protection until I can figure out what
to do.  I’ll be back in a few minutes.”

Catherine nodded, then turned her attention to the blonde, hearing as Trowa left the room.  She sighed, weaving her fingers
through the young man’s blonde hair.  He was lovely, she noticed.  “I’ll try to help you.”  She whispered, concerned for both
his mental and physical states.  She would just have to do her best to make him well again.  It was all she could really do.


*****


Trowa stepped into the other room, moving quickly over to a nearby chair.  He gently set Mariemaia down and walked over to
the door that led to the corridor outside.  A guard that was standing nearby quickly walked over.  “Is there something you need,
my Lord?”  The older man asked.

Trowa nodded.  “Yes, bring me a basin of water and some cloths.”  He said.

“Yes, sir.”  The guard said, then turned and hastily walked away.

Trowa closed the door.  When he turned back to look at Mariemaia, he saw that the girl was awake and yawning.  She rubbed
her eyes tiredly.  Then she seemed to snap to her senses and gasped, looking around the room with confusion and fear.

“It’s okay.  You're safe.”  Trowa said, stepping over to the young girl, only wanting to calm her down.

“Y-you didn’t leave me?”  She asked, apparently shocked that Trowa had returned for her.

“Of course I didn’t.  I said I would come back for you.”  Trowa replied, kneeling down in front of her.  He took a deep breath
and lowered his gaze.  “Your grandfather is dead.”  He said.

When Mariemaia said nothing, Trowa looked up, only to watch as a single tear dripped from each of her eyes.  Trowa frowned,
then wrapped his arms around her small body, gently pulling her into an embrace even though he didn’t enjoy the contact all that
much himself.

“I know he wasn’t a nice man . . . but he was all the family I had.”  She replied, crying against Trowa’s shoulder.

“I understand.”  Trowa replied.  “It is alright to grieve for the loss of your grandfather, no matter how others viewed him.”

Mariemaia nodded against him, digging her small fingers into his back.  “Thank you.”  She said, then broke down in a fit of sobs.

They stayed that way for several minutes, until the guard returned with the basin of water and several cloths.  Trowa pulled
away from Mariemaia, sliding his thumb along her cheek to brush away some of her tears.  “I have to go tend to a sick friend
and I want you to stay here.  Okay?”

Mariemaia nodded.  “Yes, sir.”  She whispered.

Trowa offered a small smile then stood and walked over to the guard.  He took the basin and cloths from the man.  “Keep her
safe and happy.  If any harm should come to her, you will be the first to die.”  Trowa said, glaring slightly.

The man gulped, nodded quickly.  “Y-yes, sire.”  The man stammered, fearful.  Trowa was satisfied with that reaction, knowing
that he wouldn’t allow anything to happen to Mariemaia if he was that afraid of Trowa’s wrath.

Trowa cast one last smile at Mariemaia, then he turned and walked back to the room where he had left Quatre and Catherine.  
He silently walked into the room, kicking the door shut behind himself.  He stepped over to the bed, setting the basin of water
down on the bedside table.

“We should also change the bed sheets, they’re oily as well now . . . but we can do that later, after a proper washing.  This is
just to get most of the blood and other fluids from his body.”  Catherine said.

“Yes, Catherine.”  Trowa mumbled, still feeling nothing but shame for what he had done to the young prince.

Catherine pulled the blankets from Quatre’s body, leaving him exposed before their eyes.  She then took one of the cloths from
Trowa, soaking it in the water and ringing it out so that it was just damp.  “Can you roll him over?  I would like to do his back
first.”

Trowa nodded, moving to sit on the bed.  Then he carefully lifted the young man, turning him over onto his stomach.  He
watched as Catherine ran that cloth over the blonde’s back, rinsing the cloth out a few times as she cleaned him, scrubbing his
rear as well.  When she was done with his back, Trowa turned Quatre’s over again, then moved off of the bed.

“C-can I help?”  Trowa asked, uncertain of whether Catherine would want his help or not.

Catherine turned to him and offered a slight smile.  “Of course you can.  Grab a cloth and cleanse his upper body . . . I’ll deal
with the rest.”

Trowa nodded eagerly, soaking another of the cloths and then ringing it out.  He gently scrubbed away the oil, sweat, and blood
from Quatre’s face, neck, chest, and arms.  He was concerned only with Quatre’s well-being, noticing out of the corner of his
eye as Catherine cleaned the rest of the blonde’s body, working diligently along his anatomy as if it didn’t matter to her whether
Quatre was a male or not.

“Do you have any clothes for him to wear?”  Catherine asked, as she finished cleaning Quatre’s lower body.

Trowa also finished, wiping his cloth along Quatre’s smooth hands, cleaning the dirt from each of his delicate fingers.  “Yes.”  
Trowa replied, dropping the cloth into the basin of water as he stood.  

He stood and walked over to a nearby dresser, picking up a set of garments that he had requested one of the guards to bring him
earlier.  Then he returned to Catherine, handing them to her. She took them, but frowned as she looked at them.

“You call these clothes?”  She asked, waving the loincloth and veil at Trowa.

Trowa sighed.  “He is a slave now, Catherine.  Dekim conquered his kingdom and took him as a prisoner of war.  By law that
makes him a slave.  Dekim’s guards still view him as a slave, and if I want to rule here without any uprisings from the guards or
other subjects, I have to earn their respect or make them fear me . . . so I can’t go around freeing the slaves.”

Catherine still didn’t look happy about this, but at least she didn’t argue about it anymore.  “Fine, he’s a slave.”  Catherine
sighed, dressing Quatre in the loincloth, but setting the veil aside.  “But there’s no need for him to wear a veil right now.”

Trowa nodded and closed his eyes.  He blinked them open again, flinching when he felt something cool and wet pressing against
the underside of his chin.  “What  . . . ?”  Trowa asked, noticing that Catherine was standing in front of him, the damp cloth in
her hand.   He hadn’t even been aware of her moving away from Quatre’s side.  He glanced over and saw that the blankets were
covering Quatre’s form was again, his eyes still staring up at the ceiling blankly.

Catherine gave him a small smile.  “You’re covered in blood, Trowa.  Now take off this tunic and those breeches.”

Trowa couldn’t help it, he backed away, still shy about his body even though Catherine had seen him without garments before.  
He fought off the shiver that tried to spread through his body, forcing himself to keep his hands at his sides and not grasp his
clothing out of fear.

Catherine noticed his apprehension.  “It’s okay, Trowa . . . you know I won’t hurt you or do anything if you don’t want me to,
right?”

Trowa nodded, moving shakily as he pulled his tunic up over his head, just dropping the bloodstained garment to the stone
floor.  He bent and pulled off his boots, then removed his sword belt and carefully set it aside.  Lastly, he reached down and
pulled at the drawstring of his breeches, letting them fall away to pool around his ankles.

Catherine took hold of his wrist and gently tugged him forward.  “Come on, I want you to get into bed and relax.”

“Okay.”  Trowa replied, stepping out of his discarded clothes and walking around to the other side of the bed, allowing
Catherine to lead him.  She pulled the blankets back from that side of the bed, and then pushed him to sit.  

Trowa laid back, resting on the bed beside Quatre, trying to shake off the nervous feeling that was making his stomach flip.  He
knew that Catherine would never hurt him, but still he was skittish about human contact, not used to it.  After fifteen years of
nothing much more than abuse from everyone he had ever known, it was difficult to get used to people being kind to him.  
Three years of kindness and people treating him with respect still left him feeling reserved about things, such as touching or
trusting.

That cool, damp cloth touched his throat, and Trowa involuntarily shivered, biting his bottom lip to keep a fearful whimper at
bay.  It was nonsense for him to be frightened of Catherine . . . he knew she would never hurt him.

“Relax, Trowa.”  Catherine urged, her voice a whisper.  “Look into my eyes and concentrate on your breathing.”

Trowa nodded, shifting his gaze to focus on her eyes.  He saw nothing but compassion there, and it calmed him somewhat.  
Even as she slid that cloth along his body, he never looked away, wanting to keep calm, desperate not to panic.

As she cleaned him, Catherine never took her eyes away from his, always making sure to keep eye contact with him.  “When I’
m done cleaning you, I’m going to go out and check on that girl, Mariemaia.  She’ll need some company.”  Catherine said.

“Yes, she just lost the last of her family . . . except for her father, but she said that she never knew him.”  Trowa replied, trying
to keep his breathing even and steady.

Catherine smiled.  “I’ll also see about getting you some new clothes . . . those others will have to be discarded probably.”  She
picked up the amulet that he never removed and moved it aside, cleansing his chest, then continuing lower after quickly swiping
the amulet clean.

Trowa tried to fight it off, but the gentle caresses that Catherine were using had begun to soothe him, making him feel drowsy.  
He felt his eyes slipping closed and attempted to keep them open so that he could watch Catherine.  “Thank you, Catherine.”  
Trowa replied, his eyes finally falling shut.

A hand brushed through his hair and Trowa opened his eyes again.  Catherine was smiling down at him.  “There, I’m done.”  
She said.

Trowa felt his brow furrowing in confusion.  He hadn’t realized that he had drifted off to sleep.  “Already?”  Trowa asked, still
feeling tired.

Catherine only smiled.  “You get some rest, Trowa.”  She said, gently pulling the blankets up to cover Trowa’s bare body.  
“After the day you’ve had I think you need the rest.”

Trowa nodded, accepting her words.  He closed his eyes, Catherine’s fingers continuing to toy with his hair, idly stroking his
scalp in random patterns.  It didn’t take long for Trowa to drift back into a peaceful slumber.



To Be Continued . . .